Friday, January 29, 2010

Solar Energy mission target may stand reduced

With the Finance Ministry throwing up its hands for supporting such a big programme in the renewable energy sector, the Union Government is contemplating reducing the target of the recently launched Jawaharlal Solar Mission from the original 20,000 MW to a more reasonable limit when the Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, launches the programme on Monday.

Although the Centre of Science and Environment (CSE) director, Sunita Narain, an expert on climate and environment-related issues, said that the 20,000 MW goal could stand reduced to 4,000 MW, the Government had still not made up its mind on what could be the most reasonable limit for this ambitious programme. “The 20,000 MW plan which envisaged a budget of Rs. 2,70,000 crore had been found to be very costly. The mission plan is to provide Rs.17.50 per MW feed-in tariff to solar power generators for 20 years. Out of this, Rs.5.50 will be paid by the utilities and the Central Government will pay the balance. The Finance Ministry has made clear that there was no way it could fund this (Rs. 2,70,000 crore. So the goal is being reduced to 4,000 MW, which would cost the government Rs.90,000 crore over 20 years from the day the mission kicks off,” Ms. Narain, who is also a member of the Prime Minister’s Council on Climate Change, has said.

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